Bolt finishes Games perfect 3 for 3

2012-08-12T00:00:00Z Bolt finishes Games perfect 3 for 3The Associated Press The Associated Press
August 12, 2012 12:00 am  • 

LONDON - Be it a gold medal or a souvenir from a record relay run, Usain Bolt always gets what he wants at the Olympics.

The Jamaican will leave London a perfect 3 for 3 - three events, three victories - just the way he departed Beijing four years ago.

Almost even with the last U.S. runner when he got the baton for the anchor leg of the 4x100 meters, Bolt steadily pulled away down the stretch, gritting his teeth and leaning at the line to cap his perfect Summer Games by leading Jamaica to victory in a world-record 36.84 seconds Saturday night.

"A wonderful end to a wonderful week," Bolt said. "What else do I need to do to prove myself as a legend?"

After crossing the line, he pleaded with an official to let him keep the yellow baton he was clutching. Told he'd be disqualified if he didn't hand it over, Bolt complied, and some nearby spectators booed. About 40 minutes later, that same official approached Bolt and returned the stick. Bolt responded with a bow of thanks and a chuckle, kissed the baton - and then asked his teammates to autograph it.

One more possession to help him remember his performances at 80,000-seat Olympic Stadium, where any mention of Bolt's name drew raucous cheers, countless camera flashes and chants of "Usain!" or "We want Bolt!"

He reiterated that this could be it for him on track and field's biggest stage. Bolt turns 26 on Aug. 21, and he refuses to commit to showing up at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.

"It's going to be hard to really do that. I've done all I want to do," said Bolt, noting that he planned to go out on the town Saturday night. "I've got no more goals."

Bolt added the relay gold to the ones he earned in the 100 in 9.63 seconds last Sunday - the second-fastest time in history - and the 200 in 19.32 on Thursday. The runner-up in both individual sprints, Bolt's pal and training partner Yohan Blake, ran the third leg of the relay, following Nesta Carter and Michael Frater.

The U.S. quartet of Trell Kimmons, 100 bronze medalist Justin Gatlin, Tyson Gay and Ryan Bailey got the silver in 37.04, equaling the former record that Bolt helped set at last year's world championships. Trinidad & Tobago took the bronze in 38.12. Canada, which was third across the line, was disqualified for running outside its lane, and its appeal was rejected.

As Blake and Gay rounded the race's final curve, they were pretty much in sync, stride for stride.

But when that duo was done, the relay came down to Bolt vs. Bailey, who was fifth in the 100 meters in 9.88.

Really not a fair matchup.

"It was over from there," Blake said.

Sure was.

After transferring the baton from his left hand to his right, the 6-foot-5-inch Bolt churned up the track with his long-as-can-be strides, and Bailey had no chance to keep up.

"Wow," Bailey said. "He's a monster."

After seeing the record time, Bolt began to celebrate, something he relishes as much as running, it seems.

The fans ate it up, of course, but as loud as their appreciation of Bolt was, it wasn't as deafening as the roar earlier in the evening for British runner Mo Farah, who won the 5,000 meters in 13 minutes 41.66 seconds to add that gold to the one he won seven days earlier in the 10,000.

In his own bit of Boltesque showmanship, Farah plopped down on his back and did a few situps.

Arizona Wildcats volunteer assistant coach Bernard Lagat took fourth place in the 5,000, missing a medal by .63 of a second.

Lagat tripped and lost his balance around the last turn, taking away most of his momentum. He finished strong, clocking a time of 13:42.99.

"I was very confident," Lagat said in a news release. "I was just trying to go as hard as I could. It would have been better to have been on the podium.

"The fourth spot is tough, but I have been the most blessed person."

On the last night of track and field action at the stadium - the final event, the men's marathon, will be run through the city's streets today - the United States won gold in the women's 4x400-meter relay.

The victory allowed Allyson Felix to collect her third gold medal, after those in the 200 and the 4x100. She's the first American woman with three track golds at a single Olympics since 1988, when Florence Griffith-Joyner won the 100, 200 and 4x100 relay.

"To have all this happen," Felix said, "to really accomplish every goal that I set out, is such a blessing."

Other gold medals awarded on the last night of action in the stadium: Anna Chicherova of Russia in the women's high jump; Keshorn Walcott of Trinidad and Tobago in the men's javelin; and Mariya Savinova of Russia in the women's 800, with Caster Semenya of South Africa getting the silver three years after being forced to take gender tests.

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